An Explanation for Delhi’s Flooding: Encroachment of Floodplains and Heavy Rainfall

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Monika Ahuja
Monika Ahuja
I have a specialization in finance but I have written for several domains including real estate, automobile, home decor, e-commerce etc. I worked in sales for over 4 years, before choosing to become a content writer. As a writer, I have worked closely with several national and international brands and have handled their social media and website content for over 3 years. With my diverse experience in the field of writing, I am looking forward to creating some engaging content for my readers.


  • Delhi faces severe flooding despite limited rainfall. The city has been grappling with extensive flooding, submerging roads and neighbourhoods.
  • Delhi’s infrastructure and drainage systems were ill-prepared to handle such a large volume of rainfall, worsening the flood situation. 
  • This emphasizes the need for improved urban planning and drainage infrastructure to mitigate future flooding events.

Delhi has experienced severe flooding despite the absence of heavy rainfall in recent days. The main cause of the flooding is the rise in the water level of the Yamuna River, which is largely influenced by the release of water from the Hanthnikund barrage in Haryana. Normally, the water from the barrage takes about two to three days to reach Delhi, but this year it arrived much faster. 

The officials from the Central Water Commission suggest that this accelerated flow may be due to the encroachment of the floodplains, which has created a restricted path for the water to pass through. Additionally, high siltation, which raises the riverbed, could also be a contributing factor to the flooding in Delhi, even without heavy rainfall.

Furthermore, Delhi experienced an extraordinary amount of rainfall over a short time. In fact, the city recorded the wettest day in July in the last 40 years, with 153 mm of rain measured on a single day. Had this amount of rainfall been spread out over several days, the situation might not have been as severe. The infrastructure and drainage systems in Delhi are not adequately equipped to handle such a large volume of rainfall within a short timeframe.

A CWC official said, “We noticed that the water released from the Hathnikund barrage took less time to reach Delhi compared to previous years. The main reason could be encroachment and siltation. Earlier, the water would have had more space to flow. Now, it passes through a constricted cross-section.” 

Delhi is submerging due to factors like encroachment on the floodplains, high siltation, and intense rainfall, which has led to flooding this year. These factors have obstructed the natural water flow and overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, submerging roads and neighbourhoods.

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